What causes depression 1: Facebook overload
Spending too much time in chat rooms and on social-networking sites? A number of studies now suggest that this can be associated with depression, particularly in teens and preteens. Internet addicts may struggle with real-life human interaction and a lack of companionship, and they may have an unrealistic view of the world. Some experts even call it “Facebook depression.”
In a 2010 study, researchers found that about 1.2% of people ages 16 to 51 spent an inordinate amount of time online, and that they had a higher rate of moderate to severe depression. However, the researchers noted that it is not clear if Internet overuse leads to depression or if depressed people are more likely to use the Internet.
What causes depression 2: End of a TV show or movie
When something important comes to an end, like a TV show, movie, or a big home renovation, it can trigger depression in some people. In 2009, some Avatar fans reported feeling depressed and even suicidal because the movie’s fictional world wasn’t real. There was a similar reaction to the final installments of the Harry Potter movies.
“People experience distress when they’re watching primarily for companionship,” said Emily Moyer-Gusé, PhD, assistant professor of communication at Ohio State University, in Columbus. WithAvatar, Moyer-Gusé suspects people were “swept up in a narrative forgetting about real life and [their] own problems.”
What causes depression 3: Too many choices
The sheer number of options available—whether it’s face cream, breakfast cereal, or appliances—can be overwhelming. That’s not a problem for shoppers who pick the first thing that meets their needs, according to some psychologists. However, some people respond to choice overload by maximizing, or exhaustively reviewing their options in the search for the very best item. Research suggests that this coping style is linked to perfectionism and depression.
What causes depression 4: Poor sleep habits
It’s no surprise that sleep deprivation can lead to irritability, but it could also increase the risk of depression.
A 2007 study found that when healthy participants were deprived of sleep, they had greater brain activity after viewing upsetting images than their well-rested counterparts, which is similar to the reaction that depressed patients have, noted one of the study authors.
“If you don’t sleep, you don’t have time to replenish [brain cells], the brain stops functioning well, and one of the many factors that could lead to is depression,” says Matthew Edlund, MD, director of the Center for Circadian Medicine, in Sarasota, Fla., and author of The Power of Rest.
What causes depression 5: Summer weather
Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is most commonly associated with winter blues, and it afflicts about 5% of Americans.
But for less than 1% of those people, this form of depression strikes in the summer. Warm weather depression arises when the body experiences a “delay adjusting to new seasons,” says Alfred Lewy, MD, professor of psychiatry at Oregon Health and Science University, in Portland.
Instead of waking and enjoying dawn, the body has a hard time adjusting, he says, which could be due to imbalances in brain chemistry and the hormone melatonin
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